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What’s Behind the Repeated Recognition for Nasdaq’s Sustainability Accomplishments?

In a company-wide commitment to improve transparency, Nasdaq continued its leadership in the sustainability space over the past year, according to results published by top ESG-evaluating bodies.

Nasdaq opened 2024 on high note, earning spots on JUST Capital and CNBC’s JUST 100 List of America’s most just companies as well as CDP’s Climate Change “A” List in February.

The early wins in 2024 build off the momentum from a strong year in 2023, which included Nasdaq maintaining its AA rating with MSCI, earning a spot in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the eighth consecutive year, and receiving “Gold Medal” status and a 95th percentile ranking from EcoVadis.

With mandatory ESG disclosure requirements on the horizon, Nasdaq has focused on honing its ESG infrastructure, improving its sustainability practices, and delivering transparent disclosure. “We’re fortunate to have a small but mighty team of sustainability professionals and the support of our leaders and subject matter experts across Nasdaq. There's a lot of devil in the details,” said Nina Eisenman, Head of Corporate ESG strategy at Nasdaq. She emphasized the important role of Nasdaq’s ESG Advisory team, reporting platform Nasdaq Metrio, and AI-powered Nasdaq Sustainable Lens play in helping her team make Nasdaq a leader in the space.

Eisenman’s team continuously reads the pulse of which ESG disclosures are relevant to the business and important to stakeholders. They collaborate with experts across the firm to review and refine disclosures, set goals, and identify ESG-related risks and opportunities to help drive long-term value for the business.

Eisenman also attributed Nasdaq’s ESG progress to its recent decision to pursue a two-pronged climate strategy. In addition to its extant commitment to carbon neutrality, at the end of 2022, Nasdaq established near- and long-term science-based emissions targets which were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This important milestone reinforced Nasdaq’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint as well as improving its standing in the eyes of ranking and rating organizations.

Starting Strong in 2024

Two Consecutive Years on CDP’s Climate Change “A” List

On February 6, 2024, Nasdaq earned an “A” score for transparency on climate change from CDP, a global environmental nonprofit. More than 21,000 companies responded to CDP’s Climate Change questionnaire, earning scores between “A” and “D-”. One of only 346 companies to earn a place on CDP’s “Climate Change A List,” Nasdaq was recognized for comprehensiveness of disclosure, awareness and management of environmental risks, and setting ambitious and meaningful net-zero targets. This marked the second consecutive year that Nasdaq received CDP’s top honor.

A Return to the JUST 100

In February 2024, Nasdaq earned a spot on the list of America’s 100 Most JUST Companies, which is compiled by the nonprofit JUST Capital and CNBC. After missing the list in 2023, Nasdaq returned with a ranking of 74, and a second overall place within the capital markets industry. Nasdaq’s ranking was driven by an industry best score in customer treatment, beneficial products and climate change, as well as industry leading scores in workforce advancement and other categories.

A Look Back at 2023

Nasdaq significantly improved its environmental score with MSCI in 2023, in part due to the approval of its near- and long-term emissions reduction targets which were validated by the SBTi. Nasdaq continues to lead in MSCI’s environmental category with a score of 10/10, surpassing the industry average of 8.5/10 in August 2023.

Maintaining excellence with the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index

Nasdaq performed well on the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability (CSA), earning a place on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the eighth consecutive year in December 2023, with a score that was bolstered by the company’s robust climate strategy. 

Additionally, the company improved its score across the governance and economic dimensions.

Eisenman pointed out that the S&P Global CSA, the survey on which the DJSI is based, helped Nasdaq identify an opportunity to improve its public reporting on its occupational health and safety (OHS) practices. Nasdaq has since established an OHS committee and begun drafting an occupational health and safety practices statement.

EcoVadis ESG scorecards are used by companies – including some of Nasdaq’s largest customers – to evaluate the ESG practices of their suppliers. Nasdaq was awarded EcoVadis “Gold Medal” status in November 2023, placing it in the 95th percentile of those evaluated. Nasdaq marked a significant score improvement in the environment category – up 10 points year-over-year in another reflection of its increased transparency around climate change mitigation efforts. 

Additional recognition

Nasdaq's ESG efforts have also recently been recognized by several other respected organizations:

  • Winner of 2023 Best Company for Sustainability Reporting, Technology & Telecoms by ESG Investing Awards
  • Nominated for 2023 Best ESG Reporting (large cap) by Corporate Governance Awards
  • Nominated for 2023 Best ESG Reporting (large cap) by IR Magazine Awards
  • Included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for the third consecutive year
  • Included in The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the fifth consecutive year
  • Named one of America’s Most Responsible Companies of 2024 by Newsweek
  • Named one of America’s Greenest Companies of 2024 by Newsweek

A virtuous cycle

The saying “you can manage what you measure” holds true for ESG.  Eisenman said “Our ongoing focus on measuring, refining, and then measuring again has resulted in recognition as a sustainability leader but maintaining that status requires vigilance.”

“It's this constant feedback loop that helps us improve our overall ESG strategy year-over-year so that we can find opportunities to mitigate risk while driving growth and long-term value creation,” she said.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

The matters described herein contain forward-looking statements that are made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about Nasdaq’s ESG, climate and sustainability policies, programs, or initiatives. We caution that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties or other factors beyond Nasdaq's control. These factors include, but are not limited to, factors detailed in Nasdaq's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its other periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. We undertake no obligation to release any revisions to any forward-looking statements.

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